This second, star-studded instalment of Gergiev’s Szymanowski cycle features Toby Spence as soloist in the Third Symphony, ‘Song of the Night’ and internationally renowned pianist, Denis Matsuev in the virtuosic ‘Symphonie concertante’, Symphony No 4. Szymanowski’s deeply personal choral work, Stabat Mater, completes the cycle and stars Sally Matthews and Ekaterina Gubanova, and introduces the young baritone, Kostas Smoriginas to LSO Live listeners.
For decades Szymanowski’s music was rarely heard outside Poland. Today, he is recognised as one of Poland’s greatest musical figures. His desire to embody the music of his native land and his incorporation of the folkloric sounds of the Polish mountains make his orchestral works a must for anyone with an interest in Polish culture and music.
Szymanowski’s Third Symphony is a musical setting of a 13thcentury poem written during his second, Franco-Arabic period and combines the influences of Wagner, Chopin and Scriabin. The Stabat Mater is derived from poet Józef Jankowski’s translation of the medieval poem about the grieving mother of Christ. Symphony No 4, one of Szymanowski’s last compositions, was dedicated to Arthur Rubinstein and is a piano concerto in all but name.
In September Valery Gergiev will travel to Rotterdam for the Rotterdam Phiharmonic Gergiev Festival, before opening The Met season with Eugene Onegin. In October Gergiev will commence his Berlioz cycle with the LSO, with performances in the UK, Germany, France and Austria. Toby Spence will appear in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in September in Vienna followed by Mozart’s The Magic Flute in Munich in November.
Valery Gergiev says of this project; ‘Szymanowski not only deserves to be widely heard and recognised, but his music also gives us a tremendous opportunity to understand better the development of classical music through the Twentieth Century.’
‘The teeming, ultra-glamorous surface of Szymanowski’s opulent Third Symphony, The Song of the Night, maintained a sheeny iridescence that never felt overbright, even at the score’s hedonistic climaxes, while a structure that can seem aimless took flight and held to its airborne course. Toby Spence floated his clean-edged tenor over the gorgeous textures conjured by the orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus.’ The Guardian (UK)
‘Symphony no. 4, “Symphonie Concertante” of 1932 is a piano concerto in all but name and as such easily stands up to comparison with the great works by Bartók and Prokofiev of the same period. As performed by Gergiev and his powerful pianist Denis Matsuev, this was a performance that struck one as energetic and bold, but also giving time for the work to breathe and expand as needed.’ bachtrack.com (UK)
‘In the Stabat Mater, it was the radiance of the perfumed harmonies and the gorgeous contours of the melodic lines that Gergiev emphasised’ The Guardian (UK)
The LSO Szymanowski Project is supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music grant programme.
DSD recording, live at the Barbican December 2012 & March 2013